Most people are familiar with cellulite — that dimpled, lumpy skin that usually appears on the lower body. And most people hate it.
Although cellulite generally makes its appearance on the belly, thighs and buttocks, it can develop on almost any area of the body. The upper arms and breasts are also common locations for cellulite to appear.
As light therapy continues to make its mark in healthcare, many people find themselves wondering, does red light therapy work on cellulite?
Let’s take a look.
What Is Light Therapy?
Light therapy, or phototherapy, uses specific wavelengths from the light spectrum to treat a range of health conditions. This light triggers beneficial effects in the body’s cells.
Light therapy has been used to treat a wide variety of health conditions, from cancer to canker sores to mental health concerns like depression and seasonal affective disorder. But the field that has seen the most application and benefit from light therapy so far is dermatology.
Most phototherapy for skin care uses red or blue light to address specific skin disorders.
Red light therapy is anti-inflammatory and increases blood flow to the skin. Red light also encourages skin cells to increase energy production.
Blue light therapy can be used alone or in conjunction with red light therapy to treat acne and kill bacteria on the skin.
What Is Cellulite?
Cellulite is a harmless skin condition in which fat deposits cause a dimpled and lumpy appearance on the skin’s surface. Cellulite is more common in women, but plenty of men deal with it as well. It occurs regardless of weight or body type.
What Causes Cellulite?
Unfortunately we don’t have all the answers as to why cellulite occurs, but we know that genes and hormones play a role.
Though many of us associate cellulite with weight gain, this isn’t necessarily true. Many thin people have quite a bit of cellulite, while some larger individuals don’t develop much cellulite at all.
Genetics, hormonal factors, skin texture, lifestyle and body type seem to play important roles in determining who will develop cellulite.
Women are more prone to cellulite because of the typical locations of their fat cell distribution and because of the hormone estrogen, which encourages fat storage. Additionally, men’s connective tissues tend to be stronger than women’s, putting women at higher risk for cellulite. Pregnancy also increases the likelihood of developing cellulite.
A sedentary lifestyle can contribute to the development of cellulite, as can a diet high in fats and carbohydrates. However, it’s important to note that an active lifestyle and a healthy diet don’t guarantee smooth skin.
What’s Happening in the Body When Cellulite Forms?
The fibrous connective tissue that holds the skin to the muscles is called fascia. That fascia anchors the skin down on top of the muscles.
Since fat resides in compartments between the skin and muscles, fat cells push up against the skin while the fascia pulls down toward the muscles. This creates the uneven skin texture we know as cellulite.
How Does Light Therapy Help With Cellulite?
Several studies have shown that light therapy could hold promise in helping reduce the appearance of cellulite.
One clinical trial among women with cellulite concluded that low level laser light therapy offers a large benefit over surgical treatments, as it reduces risk and is less invasive. This trial concluded that green light therapy increases the production of collagen in the skin, causing a tightening effect. This tightening can lead to a reduction in the appearance of cellulite.
Another study showed that minimally invasive laser therapy, radiofrequency therapy, and light therapy result in improvements in cellulite appearance.
Further research demonstrated that phototherapy can successfully treat cellulite through the use of infrared LED light therapy in combination with treadmill training. The researchers explain that phototherapy improves cellular activation, which is an important component in the treatment of cellulite.
A Few Products That May Help With Cellulite
Several products on the market today may help reduce the lumpy appearance of cellulite.
NuLife Beauty Ultrasonic Fat and Cellulite Burner
The Ultrasonic Fat and Cellulite Burner from NuLife Beauty combines ultrasonic cavitation, which breaks up fat cells, and infrared light therapy to encourage collagen and elastin production. It also has an electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) mode for toning muscles. Together, these function work to smooth the appearance of cellulite.
NuLife recommends using this product for 20 minutes per session, about four times a week, to begin seeing results with two weeks.
40K Ultrasonic Cavitation Multipolar RF Weight Loss Body Slimming Machine
Another product that could help with cellulite is the 40K Ultrasonic Cavitation Multipolar RF Weight Loss Body Slimming Machine. This machine also uses ultrasonic cavitation, but in combination with radiofrequency plasma technology, which stimulates collagen production and activates fibroblasts to smooth cellulite. It does not use light therapy.
This product requires more of a financial investment, and includes a variety of treatment heads for different areas of the body.
Lumina NRG Fat Iron
Finally, the priciest of the devices we’ll mention here is the FDA-approved Lumina NRG Fat Iron.
The Fat Iron uses radiofrequency technology to destroy fat cells, EMS to firm and tone muscles while tightening skin, and red light therapy to increase cell renewal and stimulate collagen and elastin production. Together, these technologies reduce stretch marks and wrinkles as well as smooth cellulite.
The Fat Iron requires one 15-minute treatment per day and promises visible results within two weeks.
Are You Looking for Help in Getting Rid of Stubborn Cellulite?
Though it’s not a serious medical issue, cellulite is a pervasive cosmetic problem that can be frustrating to deal with. If you’re looking for help in decreasing the appearance of your cellulite, these alternative therapies may hold the answer for you!